REVIEW: A Mad and Wonderful Thing by Mark Mulholland (Review by Caroline Baum)

by |March 5, 2014

‘You wouldn’t get involved, Johnny, would you? What about those terrible bombs? You wouldn’t do a bad thing, would you?’

Remember that phrase from Jerry McGuire ‘You had me at hello’?

Well, this book did that. It reeks of Irish charm, without laying on Oirish cliché.

Intense and unashamedly passionate and romantic, this is the story of Johnny Donnelly, a young man blessed with charisma and charm, beloved by all who know him.

He falls hard for the beautiful Cora Flannery but keeps a secret from her: in his other life, he is an IRA sniper, shooting British soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Johnny has to choose his loyalties and find a new way to love his country.

Written with playful, light and poetic language that embraces music, a proud history, a beloved and wild landscape and the country’s darker torment, the novel shifts mood effortlessly from tragedy to love story as swiftly as the Irish weather.

It tackles the great moral paradox of its central character with deftness and sensitivity and changes gear, ramping up the drama to an unexpected thriller-style climax.

A sparkling debut that celebrates the vitality, resilience and humanity of Ireland.

Grab a copy of A Mad and Wonderful Thing here

Congrats to the following lucky Booktopians, winners of advance copies of this Mad and Wonderful novel

Amanda Barrett
Sarina Weyland
Daniel Claxton
Janelle Kirk
Judy Goodson

Winners, please email us at with your details!

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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  • March 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    A Mad And Wonderful thing

  • Beth Lawrence

    March 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    This novel is a unique and outstanding piece of work.

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